Before making a final recommendation on where Obrecht Road should intersect Route 32, the Sykesville Town Council wants more information from the state and county and opinions from residents.
Council members will hear public comment at 7 p.m. tomorrow on the county's and town's proposed realignments for Obrecht Road. At issue are competing proposals for extending the much-traveled road to Route 32.
The county would loop Obrecht around the north side of Fairhaven Retirement Home and intersect Route 32 at Springfield Avenue. The town's plan would extend Obrecht past the southern end of Fairhaven to Route 32 by way of Third Avenue.
"I have heard the concept of extending Obrecht and Third Avenue, but are there truly dollar savings?" asked Councilman Kenneth Clark, a mayoral candidate. "We also need to know what other things would have to be done toThird Avenue."
Mr. Clark said he will defer any decision until he has all the facts. Maxine Wooleyhand, his opponent for mayor, said she prefers the county's original plan.
The State Highway Administration approved the county plan several years ago. The realignment has been a $1.2 million capital project in the Freedom Master Plan since 1978, said Edmund "Ned" Cueman, county planning director.
County planners have widened the proposed loop twice. The most recent proposal would be a three-quarter-mile road from the ball fields on Obrecht to Route 32.
"It is a little longer than the original but would require less excavation," said Deborah Butler, county civil engineer manager. Preliminary cost is at $1.5 million, but I doubt it will cost that much."
The county's way will be "better for the town in the long run," said Ms. Wooleyhand. "It will take traffic away from town, and I want as much traffic as possible away from town."
If the county builds its proposed route, Town Manager James L. Schumacher said motorists won't use it and the town still will grapple with commuter traffic.
"About 60 percent of motorists want to get to Route 70 from 32, and the [proposed] county route would be longer for them," he said.
Slade McCalip, county transportation planner, said recent traffic studies disprove that theory.
"We are projecting enough traffic on the new road to warrant a light," he said. "Just as many motorists will go toward Route 26, and the State Highway Administration studies have found the same thing."
Mr. McCalip said a study showed many residents of Sykesville's new developments are using Main Street instead of Obrecht. "The whole point of the loop is to take pressure off the town's internal streets," he said.
Town planners only recently proposed their alternative. The proposal would create a shorter, more direct and less costly road, which would not cut across woodlands and wildlife refuges, said Mr. Schumacher.
But what about the impact on the town, asked council candidate Garth Adams.
"We are talking about a four-lane road and bringing a highway right into town," he said. "That goes against everything the town is trying to do to keep its small-town flavor."